Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost
November 8, 2020
Dear People of Ascension,

As I write on Thursday evening, our country continues to wait for the results of our presidential election. It feels as if we are holding our collective breath, hoping both for news and that every vote be counted, praying for peace and for integrity in our electoral process. Some of us are obsessively checking the news, and others are carefully avoiding too much electoral fluctuation and minutiae. It is a time to care for ourselves and others with as much kindness and generosity as we can manage; this is a very stressful time.

For me, it is all the more so because what we know so far throws into profound relief the deep, entrenched divisions in our country. No matter what happens, we have a lot of work to do.

When we gather for church this Sunday, we may know who the next President will be. However, I suspect that many intense feelings and questions will remain. At our forum, the clergy will lead a discussion about how we are doing in the aftermath of the election: how are we feeling? What is next for each and all of us? What are we longing for? We'll break into small groups to allow for more sharing and then come back together to check in with the whole community. I hope you will plan to join us.

As we wait, watch and pray for our nation, let us also pray for one another. Rest, take walks, talk to a friend, drink plenty of water and eat good food! May God give you peace, even in these anxious days.

How to Join the Service
From your computer, laptop, pad, smart phone, or other device, click this link:
If you do not have a device with a camera, you can still join with your phone by dialing the following number and enter the meeting ID: 929-205-6099 Meeting ID: 322 793 633

All of our online services, with their links, can be found on our public calendar, and are listed below.
Click this link to read up on some best practices for Zoom meetings.
Organ Prelude
10:50 a.m.
Excerpts from Mass for Convents
François Couperin (1668-1733)
Worship Service
11:00 a.m.
All gather online

The service begins with the sound of a bell
and your microphones will be muted.

Gregorian Chant

Please join in the singing of the hymn.
#665 All my hope on God is founded (Michael)
All my hope on God is founded:
He doth still my trust renew.
Me through change and chance He guideth,
Only good and only true.
God unknown, He alone
Calls my heart to be His own.

Mortal pride man and earthly glory,
Sword and crown betray our trust:
Though with care and toil we build them,
Tower and temple fall to dust.
But God’s power, hour by hour,
Is my temple and my tower.

God’s great goodness e'er endureth,
Deep His wisdom, passing thought:
Splendor, light and life attend Him,
Beauty springeth out of naught.
Evermore from His store
Newborn worlds rise and adore.

Daily doth th’almighty Giver
Bounteous gifts on us bestow.
His desire our soul delighteth,
Pleasure leads us where we go.
Love doth stand at His hand;
Joy doth wait on His command.

Still from earth to God eternal
Sacrifice of praise be done,
High above all praises praising
For the gift of Christ His Son.
Christ doth call one and all:
Ye who follow shall not fall.

Presider Blessed be God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
People And blessed be his kingdom, now and for ever. Amen.
Collect of the Day
O God, whose blessed Son came into the world that he might destroy the works of the devil and make us children of God and heirs of eternal life: Grant that, having this hope, we may purify ourselves as he is pure; that, when he comes again with power and great glory, we may be made like him in his eternal and glorious kingdom; where he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen
The Lessons
1st Reading - Joshua 24:1-3a, 14-25
Reader: Steve Hubbard

Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and summoned the elders, the heads, the judges, and the officers of Israel; and they presented themselves before God. And Joshua said to all the people, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Long ago your ancestors—Terah and his sons Abraham and Nahor—lived beyond the Euphrates and served other gods. Then I took your father Abraham from beyond the River and led him through all the land of Canaan and made his offspring many. Now therefore revere the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness; put away the gods that your ancestors served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. Now if you are unwilling to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served in the region beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Then the people answered, “Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods; for it is the Lord our God who brought us and our ancestors up from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, and who did those great signs in our sight. He protected us along all the way that we went, and among all the peoples through whom we passed; and the Lord drove out before us all the peoples, the Amorites who lived in the land. Therefore we also will serve the Lord, for he is our God.” But Joshua said to the people, “You cannot serve the Lord, for he is a holy God. He is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions or your sins. If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, then he will turn and do you harm, and consume you, after having done you good.” And the people said to Joshua, “No, we will serve the Lord!” Then Joshua said to the people, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen the Lord, to serve him.” And they said, “We are witnesses.” He said, “Then put away the foreign gods that are among you, and incline your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel.” The people said to Joshua, “The Lord our God we will serve, and him we will obey.” So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and made statutes and ordinances for them at Shechem.

Psalm 78:1-7 (St. Helena Psalter)

Hear my teaching, O my people; *
incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
I will open my mouth in a parable; *
I will declare the mysteries of ancient times.
That which we have heard and known,
and what our forebears have told us, *
we will not hide from their children.
We will recount to generations to come
your praiseworthy deeds and your power, O God, *
and the wonderful works you have done.
You gave your decrees to Jacob
and established a law for Israel, *
which you commanded them to teach their children;
That the generations to come might know,
and the children yet unborn, *
that they in their turn might tell it to their children;
So that they might put their trust in you, *
and not forget your deeds,
but keep your commandments;

2nd Reading - 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Reader: Janet Fisher

We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who have died, so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died. For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died. For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel's call and with the sound of God's trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.
The Holy Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ According to Matthew

Jesus said, “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise replied, ‘No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I do not know you.’ Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”
The Rev. Edwin Chinery
Draw us in the Spirit’s Tether
Harold Friedell (1905-1958)
Draw us in the Spirit’s tether,
For when humbly in Thy name,
Two or three are met together
Thou are in the midst of them;
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Touch we now Thy garment’s hem.
As the brethren used to gather
In the name of Christ to sup,
Then with thanks to God the Father
Break the bread and bless the cup,
Alleluia! Alleluia!
So knit Thou our friendship up.
All our meals and all our living
Make as sacraments of Thee,
That by caring, helping, giving
We may true disciples be.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
We will serve Thee faithfully.
Prayers of the People - New Zealand Prayer Book, Second Form

Please send your own prayers through the chat function on Zoom, and the leader will read them at the end of the intercessions.
God of heaven and earth, through Jesus Christ you promise to hear us when we pray to you in faith with thanksgiving.

We pray for one another, for our families and friends, through whom we learn to love and to be loved. Thank you for all who care for us. Give us grace to serve Christ by serving our neighbors and our community, loving others as he loves us.


We thank you for the unfailing love you hold out to everyone in Jesus Christ. Comfort and heal those in sorrow, need, sickness or any other trouble, especially Robert, Ed, Janet, Mary and Tom, Ellen, Joseph, Brielle, Lucas, Holly, Allejandro and Jesus, Nancy, Barbara, Dorothy, Stewart, Patricia, Judith, Marco, Tina, Hannah, Jurek, Alice, Stacy and Jonathan, Michael, Seth, Tom, Zakaria, Jocelyn, and Jo. Give them courage and hope in their distress, and bless those who minister to them.


We remember with gratitude your many gifts to us in creation and the rich heritage of this land. Help us and people everywhere to share with justice and peace the resources of the earth. We pray for the people of Nagorno-Karabakh and Vienna, those affected by hurricane Delta, and by the fires in western states. We pray for all laboring to end ​racism and white supremacy and establish racial justice in our country. We pray for the integrity of our electoral process. Give wisdom to those in authority among us and to all leaders of the nations.


We pray for your Church throughout the world, thanking you for all who serve Christ and his kingdom. By your Spirit strengthen your people for their work and witness in the world. Unite us in your truth and love, that we who confess your name may also reflect your glory.


We pray for all affected by COVID-19: for the frightened and the sick, for the dying and those who mourn. We pray for all who have lost jobs and livelihood as a result of this pandemic. We pray for all healthcare workers, especially Scarlett, Madonna, Trudie, Nancy, Anna, Sarah, Endine, Terese, and AJ, for all whose labor supports our common life; for those developing treatment and a vaccine, for those charged with making decisions about public health and public policy and for all who are reopening, that they may care for one another in wisdom and safety.


We remember with thanksgiving all who have died in Christ and those whose faith is known to you alone, especially Brendan M. Burns, Sherrie Irene Kesselman, Sally Littlefield, Andrew Stegen, Lauretta Feldman, Walter Wallace, Jr., and the more that 230,000 Americans who have died of COVID-19, as well as others around the world. We rejoice at the faithful witness of your saints in every age, praying that we may enter with them into the unending joy of your heavenly kingdom.


We offer you our other prayers, and our thanksgivings for all the blessings of this life.

Prayers received on Zoom chat are read by the intercessor.


Merciful God, you look with compassion on all who turn to you. Hear the prayers of your people.

The priest adds a concluding collect.
The Lord's Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven,
  hallowed be thy Name,
  thy kingdom come,
  thy will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
  as we forgive those
    who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
  but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
  and the power, and the glory,
  for ever and ever. Amen.
Please join in the singing of the hymn.
#676 Balm in Gilead
There is a balm in Gilead,
to make the wounded whole,
there is a balm in Gilead,
to heal the sin-sick soul.

Sometimes I feel discouraged,
and think my work’s in vain,
but then the Holy Spirit
revives my soul again.
If you cannot preach like Peter,
if you cannot pray like Paul,
you can tell the love of Jesus,
and say, “He died for all.”

The people respond
Thanks be to God.
Please support your parish!
Go to to give online
Please check us out at to find out how easy and secure it is. Click the envelope on the right to go the Ascension Website for more information and to give, whether a one-time donation, pledge payment, or make a new pledge.

Our parish can only continue its mission and ministry because of the generosity of parishioners, visitors, and friends of the parish and we are working hard to make our online giving as easy and seamless as possible.

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Coffee Hour

Pour yourself a cup of coffee, tea, or your favorite juice, grab a slice of banana bread, piece of fruit, or a peanut butter & jelly sandwich, and feel free to "hang out" with us online to chat!
For Your Daily Prayers - "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) During this time of global crisis and personal anxiety, we offer you this prayer form to include in your daily prayers.
Reserve a Spot for Midweek Eucharist!
In-Person Midweek Eucharist, Wednesdays at 6:00 p.m. As we take our next step toward reopening the church during this time of pandemic we are opening the church on Wednesday evenings for in-person Eucharist. Click here to read more.
The Church is open for prayer and meditation on Tuesdays and Fridays from 12-3 pm. Masks, contact information and use of hand sanitizer is required for all guests. We are very excited about opening our space again. The garden is open every day from 9-5, and is a lovely place to enjoy quiet and the beauty of creation.
Wednesday Evening
In-Person Eucharist, 6:00 p.m.

In the Church. Space is limited so please use the link above to make a reservation.
Sunday Meditation with Prayers & Music
is available on our
Facebook page:

Stay Connected in Prayer.
Join us each weeknight at 5:30 for Evening Prayer & discussion. Click here to join. To call in (voice, no camera), dial 929-205-6099; the meeting ID is 770 597 201.
harvest J Fisher
Virtual Harvest Dinner, Thursday, November 12; 6:30 p.m. -
Join us next Thursday, for our very first Virtual Harvest Dinner on Zoom. There will be entertainment, thoughtful messages, eating (from your kitchen), singing, and of course... limericks.  There are two opportunities for participation:

- Send a photo or short video (5 to 15 seconds without sound) about what has brought you joy during our social distance time to Rachel Sedor . Please send by noon this coming Monday, November 9.
- Write a limerick! Write a limerick relating to Ascension, worship, Harvest Dinner, or our shared traditions.
  • You can read your limerick during the dinner. We will use the spotlight feature in Zoom, so it will be like reading at mass. Or
  • Appoint someone else who will be at the dinner to read it for you. OR
  • Send your limerick to Rachel before 6 pm on Thursday and she will read it for you.
  • Video tape yourself reading it, and send to Rachel by Wednesday evening. (Please use your phone, record in landscape mode, and make sure there is very little background noise so we can hear you loud and clear.)
  • We are so excited to try this virtual celebration!. Please join us and please participate!

To join us via Zoom:

Or Dial by your location
    +1 929 205 6099 US (New York)
    +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
    +1 301 715 8592 US (Germantown)
    +1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)
    +1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
    +1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)
Meeting ID: 965 0508 8955
What I Did This Summer... A Request for Photos for the Harvest Dinner - Do you have any photos or video clips of how your spent your socially distanced time this summer? We'd love to put together a montage to share during the Harvest Dinner. Please send your photos and/or video clips (5 to 15 seconds) to Rachel Sedor by Monday, November 9, so we have time to compile them.
Ascension Finances Forum Next Sunday, November 15 - Join us as Mary Gaillard, our Treasurer, and John Grimes, Chair of our Finance Committee, lead a discussion of our finances, including how we have been impacted by the pandemic. Sunday Forum after Services, November 15 (Zoom Link)

Additionally, if you are a current Vestry member or exploring the possibility of Vestry Service, please come to an Finance information session with Mary Gaillard on Wednesday evening, November 11, at 6:30 p.m. (Zoom Link)
Beware of Fraudulent Emails Purporting to be from the Ascension clergy! Several people received scam emails today pretending to be from Fr. Ed, using a Gmail account under a user name that appears to be him. Click here to read more and learn what you can do.
Upper West Side Open Hearts Initiative (UWSOHI) - Many of you will perhaps have heard or read about the ongoing controversy on the Upper West Side this summer over the city housing homeless individuals in the empty hotels in the upper 70s near Amsterdam and Broadway in order to protect them from Covid by reducing crowding in the normal shelters. The Upper West Side Open Hearts Initiative is a group that formed in that neighborhood to support the men who are housed in the hotels and to push back against the active and vocal group that is trying to remove them from the neighborhood completely.

UWSOHI is organizing an effort to help kit the men out with supplies for when they move into permanent housing. If you would like to contribute to that effort, the details of how to do so are below. You can order the wish list for one full (or parts of a) supply kit on Amazon at the link below, and it will go a long way to helping them be ready when they are assigned long term housing. A full complement of supplies cames to around $325 total.

Click here to purchase portions of, or a full kit. In Amazon, when you go to shipping, select the UWS OpenHearts Housewarming option and it will be shipped to the home of the person who is doing the organizing. For privacy’s sake, you will not see that address, but it will go to them, and they will in turn take it to the Lucerne or the Belleclaire.
Is God calling YOU to run for Vestry? Are you interested in exploring your own faith leadership in the church? Serving on Vestry is an opportunity to provide spiritually grounded leadership with an emphasis on our church's finances and property management. Vestry members are baptized members of the parish who regularly attend worship and have contributed financially to Ascension regularly over the past 12 months. Vestry meets the evening of the 3rd Wednesday of each month. Please contact the Nominating Committee or Mtr Liz if you would like to discern this ministry or know someone you would like to nominate.
Blessings from the Vestry Nominating Committee:
Maurice Seaton (, Shana Kaplanov,
Rusty Moore, Terry Rogers, and Kate Rutherford
From the Vestry:

Sunday Paper Junior - The lectionary, our yearly schedule of Bible readings, carries us through Jesus’s life and teachings. The Church of The Ascension subscribes to the Sunday Paper Junior and we offer it to you and your family as a fun, creative way to study the lessons each week. Click here to access this week's paper. Please feel free to print out the pages each week and use as you desire. Check out this section each week for the current Sunday Paper Junior!
Subscribe to the AscensionNYC podcast and have our weekly sermons delivered to the device of your choice! While we have been posting recordings of sermons preached at Ascension services since February 2015, many have asked how they can listen to them on the go. Now you can subscribe to the AscensionNYC podcast to have the latest sermons and other audio content from the Church of the Ascension automatically downloaded to your phone, tablet or computer. Follow this link
to choose how you'd like to receive AscensionNYC in the podcast app you use; we’re being added to more and more directories each week!

You can also go to our website to listen to recent sermons by clicking here or going to our website.
Give while shopping - We all seem to be relying on online shopping more and more these days. The AmazonSmile Foundation donates 0.5 percent of the purchase price from your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the nonprofit you choose. Even these small sums can add up for us. Click here to find out how.
This Week At Ascension
Sunday – November 8
Organ Prelude (Zoom) 10:50 a.m.
Church Service (Zoom) 11:00 a.m.
Ascension Forum (Zoom)
Meditation with Prayers and Music (Available on our Facebook page)

Monday – November 9
Evening Prayer (Zoom) 5:30 p.m.
Lectionary Bible Study (Zoom) 6:30 p.m.
(Speak to Sibyl Piccone if you are interested in this group)

Tuesday – November 10
Finance Committee (Zoom) 11:30 a.m.
Church Open for Prayer and Meditation* (Church) 12 noon - 3:00 p.m.
Evening Prayer (Zoom) 5:30 p.m.
EfM (Zoom) 6:00 p.m.

Wednesday – November 11
Evening Prayer (Zoom) 5:30 p.m.
Holy Eucharist (Church; In-Person) 6:00 p.m. (The Rev. Meredith Ward, Celebrant and Preacher)
(Please make your reservation with the link above)

Thursday – November 12
Evening Prayer (Zoom) 5:30 p.m.
Harvest Dinner (Zoom) 7:00 p.m.

Friday – November 13
Church Open for Prayer and Meditation* (Church) 12 noon - 3:00 p.m.
Evening Prayer (Zoom) 5:30 p.m.

Saturday – November 14
Rehearsal for Sunday Service (Zoom) 2:00 p.m.

Sunday – November 15
Organ Prelude (Zoom) TBA
Church Service (Zoom) 11:00 a.m.
Ascension Forum (Zoom)
Meditation with Prayers and Music (Available on our Facebook page)

* Anyone entering the church must wear a mask, maintain appropriate physical distance, utilize the hand sanitizer stations, and provide contact tracing information. Anyone with a temperature of 99.9 or over will not be admitted and will be instructed to quarantine and contact their doctor.

If you need information to connect to one of our Zoom events please call the church office at 212-254-8620 or email us at
Contact Us
The Church of the Ascension -- Fifth Avenue and Tenth Street
212-254-8620 | |
We are working from home, but we will respond to emails and phone calls